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The Texas Tenors taking tunes to the theater

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GROUP: The award-winning group is headed to Wabash at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 when they will take the Ford Theater stage. Tickets are $35 and $45.
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TENORS: Left to right, JC Fisher, Marcus Collins and John Hagen of the music group The Texas Tenors appear on NBC News’ “Today” show.
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AMERICA’S GOT TALENT: The group performed on episode four of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions.

by Rob Burgess - rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com

Since their whirlwind debut on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” The Texas Tenors have accumulated a long list of awards and accolades and have performed over 1,000 concerts around the world.

With music spanning from Bruno Mars to Puccini, The Texas Tenors share a unique blend of country, classical, Broadway and current pop music.

The award-winning group is headed to Wabash at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 when they will take the Ford Theater stage. Tickets are $35 and $45, according to a press release.

In a phone interview Monday, one of the three members of the group, Marcus Collins reflected on his long journey from being a struggling actor to now being a recognized professional singer.

“It’s good to get back on tour. It’s the 10th-anniversary tour and we’re excited to kick it off,” he said. “Before that, I was doing pretty much anything that came up from video games to customer service. You name it. Extra work in movies and TV. Whatever would pay the bills. It’s been wonderful to have The Tenors and be able to perform for people and do what you love to do.”

If you search Collins’ credits on the Internet Movie Database, you’ll find his first acting credit is a 2002 episode of “Sex and the City” in which he was listed as The Hot Guy (uncredited).

“Is it better to be The Hot Guy or The (uncredited) Hot Guy? Who makes that decision?” he said, laughing. “It was a scene where Carrie and her friends went to the Cabaret Club and I was sitting at a table next to them. And she glanced over and kind of has an exchange of eyes and a moment.”

Between 2003 and 2006 he scored a few small roles in various sketches on “Saturday Night Live.” In one scene he was a waiter alongside host Eva Longoria. In another episode, host Dane Cook smashed a beer bottle out of his hand. Yet another of his scenes was in an episode featuring host Jack Black in a snowy scene.

Collins said for these latter two roles, he was listed as a co-star because the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists designated him an “under-five,” which meant he had few than five lines of dialogue.

Collins said other scenes required him to literally be “living scenery.”

“There was one scene … where Horatio (Sanz) in drag and Kevin Spacey was in the scene, and we were coming back from commercial and they couldn’t get the walls to go together in the back behind them,” he said. “So, they stuck me in a chair sitting at a table to cover up the seam of this wall.”

Many of Collins’ other acting credits were on daytime soap operas, which provided their own set of challenges.

“I got my script for ‘One Life to Live’ two weeks in advance. And then we shot the scene. It took all of probably 15 minutes to do the shots for that episode. They film it pretty much in real-time,” he said.

In 2009, his career took a sharp turn when he joined two friends, John Hagen and JC Fisher, to audition for “America’s Got Talent.”

“I’ve known JC for almost 20 years. We met working cruise ships back in 2000,” he said. “He had this idea of putting three of his buddies together to form a vocal group.”

Collins said at the time he was still struggling to pay the bills in Los Angeles.

“I flew to meet him and John and we got together and rehearsed for a couple of hours. And then did a performance and filmed it and then sent that tape in to ‘America’s Got Talent’ and they invited us to audition. And pretty soon, we’re off and running,” he said.

Collins said the process of competing in the show was “nerve-wracking.”

“It’s pretty scary at first. You just keep going through the process. As you get further along you gain confidence. It gets a little easier, but certainly, the pressure is still there because of the competition,” he said.

After finishing fourth place on the show, Collins fulfilled his childhood dream of being a professional singer.

“I’ve always been a singer since I was a kid. Acting, I just kind of fell into that. I was just basically working as an extra or doing some bit parts here and there to stay in New York and audition for theater and audition for Broadway and to audition to be a professional singer. That acting stuff was just kind of a way to try to pay the bills to keep following my dream,” he said.

Collins said when the audience comes to see the group, they try to impart their gratitude throughout their performance.

“It means a lot that people want to come out and see us. We are three friends who had a dream of doing this business of show as a living. And for us to be able to do that every day and to have people come out and support us and like it that means so much. We don’t ever take that for granted,” he said. “We try to uplift people. We try to have a positive message and stay extremely positive because that message is so important nowadays. If you have this kind of platform, if you have this kind of voice out there, to be a positive influence on the world and not spread negativity. We try to do that with our music and I hope people can identify with that and feel that when they come to the show. It sounds hokey, but it’s true.”